First Time Cruising Many Questions - Enchantment of the Seas RCI

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#1
12 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
May family and I will be cruising for the first time on August 5th. We have booked a four day cruise with RCI on the Enchantment of the Seas. I have several questions. (I am venturing out of my comfort zone planning a cruise. We usually just spend the week at Walt Disney World!)

1. We will be at Disney prior to our cruise and plan to use a town car service to bring us to Port Canaveral. What time should we tell the driver to pick us up from our hotel? We will use the same service upon on the return trip to take us to the airport. What time should I tell him to pick us up from the cruise. Our cruise departs at 4pm and returns at 7 am.

2. Is bottled water included in the price? Can you bring in bottled water if it is not. We plan to get the soda package but my teenage son drinks mostly bottled water.

3. We have been assigned the later seating for dinner. Will we miss the nighttime shows? Should we switch to the my time dining? It doesn't appear to be an extra charge but would need to prepay gratuities from what I have read.

4. Dress at dinner in the main dining room - on the nonformal nights, do the men need to wear long pants? How fancy is the formal night? No one in our group wants to get dressed up!

5. Is it better to prepay the gratuities?

6. In Nassau, what would be the best excursion for teenagers? What is the Blue Lagoon like? Kids may want to do the swim with dolphins thing but parents would like to watch and spend the day on the beach.

Thanks so much in advance. This is a great site!
#2
NY, NJ, MD, and now Osprey, FL
1,768 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Originally posted by 24SixEight
May family and I will be cruising for the first time on August 5th. We have booked a four day cruise with RCI on the Enchantment of the Seas. I have several questions. (I am venturing out of my comfort zone planning a cruise. We usually just spend the week at Walt Disney World!)

1. We will be at Disney prior to our cruise and plan to use a town car service to bring us to Port Canaveral. What time should we tell the driver to pick us up from our hotel? We will use the same service upon on the return trip to take us to the airport. What time should I tell him to pick us up from the cruise. Our cruise departs at 4pm and returns at 7 am.

2. Is bottled water included in the price? Can you bring in bottled water if it is not. We plan to get the soda package but my teenage son drinks mostly bottled water.

3. We have been assigned the later seating for dinner. Will we miss the nighttime shows? Should we switch to the my time dining? It doesn't appear to be an extra charge but would need to prepay gratuities from what I have read.

4. Dress at dinner in the main dining room - on the nonformal nights, do the men need to wear long pants? How fancy is the formal night? No one in our group wants to get dressed up!

5. Is it better to prepay the gratuities?

6. In Nassau, what would be the best excursion for teenagers? What is the Blue Lagoon like? Kids may want to do the swim with dolphins thing but parents would like to watch and spend the day on the beach.

Thanks so much in advance. This is a great site!
First let me say welcome and Cruise Critic. You will find many answers to your questions on this site.

Your roll call is at this link - http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1839694 it is not very active however. You can meet some of your fellow cruisers and ask some very specific questions about your cruise.

1 a) The trip from Disney to Port Canaveral is approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. You will want to leave extra time for possible traffic. If you want to arrive at the port around Noon, then maybe leave disney around 1000 A.M. Depending on how fast the ship was disembarked and how many people have arrived for boarding, you will most probably be on the ship by 1:00.

1 b) Usually the ship will have it's passengers off the ship by 1030 on the last day. They will assign you a disembark time based on your return travel plans (i.e., flight times, etc.). I think RCI has a walk off option, but I am not sure. Someone on the RCI board may be able to answer that one. You will not be able to leave the ship until it has cleared customs and they are ready for everyone to start leaving. Probably around 8 ish will be the start of disembarking.

2 - bottled water is not included in the price of the cruise. water on the ship is filtered and tastes pretty good. Your son can either buy a bottle of water and then fill it with water in the buffet area; or, check the RCI website (or here on cruise critic) and see if you can bring bottled water on board. Some cruise lines allow it in carry ons.

3) anytime dining is not extra - that is correct. you are also correct that tips will be prepaid when you make final payment. This is because you will not have an opportunity to always have the same servers and the cruise line wants to ensure the wait staff receives their tips. That said - once on board, you can always adjust them up or down depending on service. there are suggested amounts for room stewards, wait staff... so you can be precise (adjust for the room stewards and/or wait staff depending on the level of service you received).

4 - dress in the dining room - read the guidelines from RCI. I have seen men in shorts turned away (as well as anyone in jeans) and I have seen them seated and fed. It might depend on the shorts - if they are dress shorts and the men are wearing collared shirts - might get seated. if wearing jean shorts and t-shirts - probably wouldn't be seated. My husband has worn khaki shorts and hawaiian shirts to dinner and we were fine.

4 b) - formal night - suit is fine however, some men will wear a tux; others might wear a jacket and tie with nice pants. Ladies - it varies from cocktail length to full formal gowns down to dressy pants with sparkly tops.

5 - I answered it above - you can always adjust the amount if you feel it necessary.

6 - I cannot help you with your last question as I have never cruised with my kids nor have I done a dolphin excursion.

Have fun on your first cruise - let me warn though that you will be hooked!
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#3
North Carolina Coast!, USA
5,787 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
You will pay a LOT if you buy bottled water on the ship. The water in the buffet is fine, no need to bring water on board. Just bring a bottle and refill it.
You will not miss any shows. There are usually two each night for each dining times. Sometimes they're at 7:30 for the late seating or at 10:30 for that seating.
Haven't been on RCCL in a while but men usually wear dockers and a polo shirt for dinner and sometimes this on formal nights! Men also might wear a suit or jacket for formal nights. For 7 days my husband takes two pairs of pants (he takes his tux or suit also). Who is going to realize he wore those same pants two nights before? He just wear a new shirt each night. We do not like 'any time' dining. We like to get to know our tablemates and waiter. He will know when you want coffee, ice tea, etc. and after the 1st night you won't need to tell him. EWe also like meeting our tablemates, talking about what they are planning to do and how they spent their day. We have also had them join a tour we had planned and have stayed in touch after the cruise.
Haven't been to Blue Lagoon in years but you can swim with the dolphins then go to the beach there.
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#4
105,588 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Welcome to Cruise Critic.

You can also ask your questions on the RCI board here:


http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=83


Also check out your ports here:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=58
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Stopped counting a few years ago -- have done over 140 cruises.
#5
Virginia
20,266 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Welcome to Cruise Critic!

We took a limo from WDW to Port Canaveral. We left at 11:00 and was at the port by 12:30 (we did make a stop because we were on DCL and could bring alcohol onboard). To be safe I would suggest telling them to pick you up from the ship about 9-9:30. Unless you carry your own bags off, you likely will not get off before 8 and you still have to collect your bags and go through customs.

The water onboard is filtered much like bottled water. Don't waste a couple of dollars (or more) onboard buying bottles.

I would go ahead and prepay the gratuities. One less bill when you get home.

Enjoy your cruise!
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#6
White House TN
350 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Welcome!
We sailed on Enchantment last year. The crew is outstanding. We did the my time dining because we don't like to be regimented as far as dining goes. We ended up going back every night the same time because our waiter was so wonderful but you certainly don't have to. We prepaid gratuities but still gave more at the end of the cruise because the service was amazing. But again, its not required.
We loved the shows. You should be able to make one even if you are at the last dinner seating. Another option on formal nights is the buffet or room service. We did both formal nights but will probably skip it next time. The buffet serves the same food as the MDR so you wont be missing out on anything. We never tried it for dinner but breakfast and lunch were always great. We only had room service for breakfast. It was ok.
I suggest you skip the bottled water. The ships water was fine.
Remember it is your cruise. Try to relax and go with the flow. I would he happy to answer any ship related questions. I hope you have a wonderful cruise!
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#7
12 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Thanks Janice2348. Did you do an excursion in Nassau?

Originally posted by janice2348
Welcome!
We sailed on Enchantment last year. The crew is outstanding. We did the my time dining because we don't like to be regimented as far as dining goes. We ended up going back every night the same time because our waiter was so wonderful but you certainly don't have to. We prepaid gratuities but still gave more at the end of the cruise because the service was amazing. But again, its not required.
We loved the shows. You should be able to make one even if you are at the last dinner seating. Another option on formal nights is the buffet or room service. We did both formal nights but will probably skip it next time. The buffet serves the same food as the MDR so you wont be missing out on anything. We never tried it for dinner but breakfast and lunch were always great. We only had room service for breakfast. It was ok.
I suggest you skip the bottled water. The ships water was fine.
Remember it is your cruise. Try to relax and go with the flow. I would he happy to answer any ship related questions. I hope you have a wonderful cruise!
#8
4,561 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Originally posted by 24SixEight
Thanks Janice2348. Did you do an excursion in Nassau?
We have been on the Enchantment twice. We did the Dolphin Experience at Blue Lagoon and it was great, and spending time at the beach depends on the time you choose (take the EARLY times). The excursion includes the transportation by boat. You are responsible for getting back on one of the boats early enough to make it back to the ship before it leaves, so watch when each boat leaves and give yourself plenty of time to get back. Adults can watch but you aren't allowed to take photos. They sell photos their photographer takes and be forewarned, the price is ridiculous. That's the ONLY down side of the experience. We decided before going that we wouldn't buy the photos, but it was soooooo cool and the photos were soooooo good that we did it anyway. We honestly are glad we did now. It's a beautiful place. If you plan to book the excursion through the cruise line, do it prior to boarding. We booked shortly after boarding, and we were only able to get an afternoon excursion because they were sold out. In fact, we got the last 4 slots. It is one of the excursions that sell out quickly, especially the early times.
#9
Western PA
864 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
No shorts in the dining room at night.
I think all of your other questions were answered. Just read the schedule that will be put in your cabin each night, and you will see whether the show will be before or after your set dining time the following night. And mark all the other things you don't want to miss! And have a wonderful cruise. It's a good ship.
#10
White Marsh, Maryland
2,373 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
You will enjoy the Enchantment.

I see you are in Nassau until midnight. Instead of an excursion for the teens, have you thought about doing the water park at Atlantis. I think they still do this. As I understand it, you can book a room at the comfort suites, (I believe that is the name, if not someone will correct me) this room entitles 4 people access to Atlantis water parks and more. You just check in, get your wrist bands and go. You would have to reserve your room ahead of time to assure vacancy. The cost of the room would be way less than the excursion cost for Atlantis if there are 4 of you.

The dolphin swim would also be nice. We went to a dolphin swim at the Caymans and yes it was very nice to watch granddaughter swimming with them. We were allowed to take photos.

Whatever you decide, have a great time.

Usually they have shows scheduled for early and late diners so everyone gets to see each one. Maybe not the first night.
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#11
Macomb, MI
36 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Welcome to cruising! I hope you love it as much as we do. In Nassau we loved Atlantis and it was worth getting the day pass. The grounds are beautiful and so is the beach. They also have a dolphin encounter there which is very nice. Pricey, but a memorable experience.
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#12
Pepsicola FL
9,894 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by 24SixEight
May family and I will be cruising for the first time on August 5th. We have booked a four day cruise with RCI on the Enchantment of the Seas. I have several questions. (I am venturing out of my comfort zone planning a cruise. We usually just spend the week at Walt Disney World!)

1. We will be at Disney prior to our cruise and plan to use a town car service to bring us to Port Canaveral. What time should we tell the driver to pick us up from our hotel? We will use the same service upon on the return trip to take us to the airport. What time should I tell him to pick us up from the cruise. Our cruise departs at 4pm and returns at 7 am. you must be on board 90 minutes prior. they will start boarding NLT noon in most cases.

2. Is bottled water included in the price? Can you bring in bottled water if it is not. We plan to get the soda package but my teenage son drinks mostly bottled water. no. technically no it cannot be brought on, but most terminals do not have a problem with a reasonable amount.

3. We have been assigned the later seating for dinner. Will we miss the nighttime shows? Should we switch to the my time dining? It doesn't appear to be an extra charge but would need to prepay gratuities from what I have read. there are two shows a night. with late seating you will attend the first scheduled show.

4. Dress at dinner in the main dining room - on the nonformal nights, do the men need to wear long pants? How fancy is the formal night? No one in our group wants to get dressed up! no shorts allowed for dinner in the MDR. for formal night, a pair of slacks and a button down shirt will be allowed.

5. Is it better to prepay the gratuities? strictly personal preference. we always consider it part of the cost so like to have it paid off before we board.

6. In Nassau, what would be the best excursion for teenagers? What is the Blue Lagoon like? Kids may want to do the swim with dolphins thing but parents would like to watch and spend the day on the beach. again, based on personal preference. do some research to see what is available.

Thanks so much in advance. This is a great site!
we miss EN now that she has left Baltimore.. she was our home ship....
#13
Hull
323 Posts
Joined May 2012
Hi regarding pre paid tips - they have just changed so that everyone is automatically charged daily for their tips on their on board account - and I think I read somewhere this was the same for MTD - so no pre paying. we paid $12 per person per day on our recent Med Cruise it is more in Suites. No more envelopes in cabins - well they did leave one just in case we wanted to leave more for the Steward.
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#14
Dallas, Texas
4,515 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
I'd plan to arrive at the port by 11:30am. You absolutely have to be there and checked in 90 minutes before ship's departure. Lunch (buffet) is served on the ship, and you've already paid for it, so enjoy it. There will probably be a line at 11:30 -- just bear with it. Try the Honey Stung Chicken. As for pick up time going to the ship, try around 9:30. As for pick up time from the ship -- when is your air? I'd plan to be at the airport 2 hours before your airline departure just to leave some cushion. Your limo company should be able to tell you the best pick up time based on when you want to be at the airport, but plan on a 90 minute ride.

Ship's tap water is fine -- often better than some bottled water. There will be bottled water in the cabin. Don't open it unless you want to pay -- something like 3 or 4 bucks per bottle I think.
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#15
White House TN
350 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Originally posted by 24SixEight
Thanks Janice2348. Did you do an excursion in Nassau?
Actually we went to Bermuda. Planning on Bahamas next year. Ive been looking at Blue Lagoon for the beach day. Can't get DH interested in the dolphin encounter but I'm working on him. I've already had to cancel two cruises this year due to finances and I'm really bummed. We downsized from Caribbean and Hawaii to Bahamas thinking it's more of a possibility.

That said, we loved Enchantment. She is no longer going out of Baltimore so we will be sailing on Grandeur.

Have a wonderful cruise!
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